Proposed bill may outlaw tattooing of minors; STGnews Videocast

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bill currently making the rounds at the General Session of the 2015 Utah Legislative Session could prohibit the tattooing of minors even with parental consent.

The original proposal, House Bill 143 – Prohibition on Tattooing of Minors, sponsored by Rep. LaVar Christensen, sought to completely prohibit tattooing any minor under the age of 18. According to current Utah law, any minor under the age of 18 can receive a tattoo as long as the tattoo artist has either the written permission of the minor’s legal guardian along with reasonable proof of their guardianship or if the guardian is present at the time of the tattoo.

At a House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting on Feb. 10, Christensen presented his proposal to committee members and answered questions they had. During his presentation, Christensen said the concept for his bill entered his head after he saw children with tattoos in a stroller.

“It kind of alerted me,” Christensen said, “and brought to my eyes a very sensitive matter.”

According to the bill, If caught tattooing a minor, the artist responsible could face class B misdemeanor charges as well as a $1,500 fine. The artist could also then be subject to a civil lawsuit by which they could be held responsible for the cost of the tattoo’s removal as well as court and attorney fees.

Some concerns from committee members for the bill included the questions of parental rights. Rep. Brian Greene, a Republican from Pleasant Grove, said that in many cases the law allows for parental consent for medical procedures that are experimental or controversial to some people

“Those … consequences can be much more grave than having a permanent — or with today’s technology semipermanent — marking on your body,” Greene said.

In some cases, Greene said, there can also be a relationship between tattooing and religious or cultural situations. In some cultures, such as Polynesian cultures, tattooing can carry a religious connotation that should be taken into account.

In Utah there is a lot of leniency when it comes to religion, Greene said, so parents are allowed a lot of when it comes to their children and religious practices. In his mind, prohibiting certain tattooing practices could fall along the same lines as restricting other religious decisions.

“I can’t even imagine the backlash we would hear,” Greene said, “if somebody were to propose a bill that parents shouldn’t have the ability to allow their children to be baptized at age 8.”

Based on these concerns, Greene said, he did not think he could support the bill in its current form. Concerns from members of the public during a comment portion echoed Greene’s; as well as additional concerns that some minors would get tattoos in unsterile or unsafe environments should the bill pass.

In his responses to the concerns, Christensen said he has an amended version of the bill, which has an allowance for children who are 16 years and older to get tattooed as long as their parents followed certain protocols; such as supplying proof of guardianship and obtaining a notarized form giving their consent for a tattoo. In the amended version of the bill, children under 16 would still be prohibited altogether.

In Southern Utah, some tattoo artists are not entirely opposed to the idea of restricting tattoos on minors. Michael Roberts, the owner and lead artist at Odd Fellows Tattoos in Cedar City, said tattooing minors is not something he really enjoys doing.

“At that age, you don’t really know what you want for the rest of your life,” Roberts said. “You can make some pretty dumb decisions.”

At Odd Fellows, Roberts said, minors can receive tattoos, but only if a parent comes into the studio and provides copies of birth certificates or proof of guardianship, photo identification and social security card for both the guardian and the minor. The guardian is also required to sign a consent form.

Because all these requirements are already in place at his shop, Roberts said, if the bill added a few extra steps for a minor or their guardian, he would not be opposed to it.

However, while Roberts’ business may not be greatly affected should the bill pass, he said he does have some concerns about the Utah government putting restrictions on things that parents have traditionally had a role in deciding.

“It’s just another thing that they took away from everyone,” he said. “It’s more rights they’re taking away.”

In the end, the committee voted unanimously to place a hold on the bill in order to allow Christensen to make further amendments to his proposal. Once these revisions are complete, the bill will then be brought to the committee for further discussion.

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  • fun bag February 24, 2015 at 9:30 am

    This epidemic of tattoos is just a fad and I can’t wait for it to be over. It’s a product of society getting dumber as a whole. Do people realize how bad they actually look with these trashy tatts? The ‘cool factor’ will be over in a few years and then there will just be all these folks wondering what the heck were they thinking…

    • concerned dad February 24, 2015 at 10:25 am

      How dare you judge someone by their tattoo. Just because someone has a tattoo does not make them trashy or a bad person. I have several tattoos and each one of them has meaning. From my children’s names to parts of life I am proud of like my military service and my family heritage. If you don’t like them don’t get one, but I can bet one day you may have your life saved by someone with a tattoo and I dare you to call them trashy or tell them that they are dumb for getting them. Military, doctors, fireman, paramedics, police officers, we all have them so get of your high horse before you get knocked off by someone with a tattoo.

      • fun bag February 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm

        Can you read? No one was judged. Calm down…

      • mesaman February 24, 2015 at 7:37 pm

        Well it certainly doesn’t make them more attractive, nor the parents more responsible, does it. Your generalization about “we all have them” is not accurate nor true. Some have them for whatever reasons but everybody doesn’t have them. How would you like to be given CPR by someone who doesn’t have tatoos?

      • anybody home February 25, 2015 at 2:09 pm

        Come on, dad, don’t get your knickers in a twist. We all judge other people by a wide variety of things: skin color, sex, clothing choices, religion, politics, age, the cars they drive and the places they live, the way they talk, the kind of work they do, money, the list is long and I’m sure you, like everybody else, have ways of judging other people depending your life experience. Some you like and some you do not. Clearly, people with tattoos are on your “like” list. Would be interesting to know who’s on your “don’t like” list.

    • K February 24, 2015 at 11:45 am


      • Annie February 24, 2015 at 7:07 pm

        Yes, someone with a tattoo may save your life. If you work at the hospital in St. George, you must cover up your tattoos. It is against their policy for employees to have exposed tattoos, multiple ear piercings and that sort of thing. I’m hoping the bill is passed. I don’t like tattoos. Yes, it is a form of artistic expression, but there are many businesses that will not even hire people with tattoos. They specifically state that in their job advertisements. Some do not want people with tattoos even making deliveries because it scares people. Tattoos mostly have a negative association due to so many gang members and criminals who are covered with them.

    • Moveback7spaces February 26, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Well they’re not the ones on a public forum calling themselves fun bag LOL.! You’re gay and it seems you want people to notice you….. PATHETIC

  • ladybugavenger February 24, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Well, that will help parents be able to say No, you can’t have that ugly tattoo and the law be on their side.

  • vesseyfamily2 February 24, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Okay, people, calm down and get educated on the facts instead of reacting on your fears. Tattoos have been around since the dawn of time. They are not a fad. Fad implies a temporary situation. Individuals with tattoos are not dumb. There are doctors, lawyers, teachers and a whole host of other intelligent professionals that have tattoos. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what you think is trashy others might think is beautiful. Your opinion is your own and is not the opinion of millions of others. You’re entitled to your opinion but that does not make your opinion better than others, right or intelligent. Having tattoos does not make you a law breaker either. There are millions of law abiding citizens with tattoos. I understand that you have your concerns but that does not give you the right to decide for others what they can and cannot do. God gave us all freedom of choice and it is not for you to take away. If you don’t like the look of tattoos, then don’t get one but stop trying to control others and make them conform to your vision of what is right or wrong. You are not in a position to judge others. People in glass houses…get over yourselves and live your own lives, not ours.


    *Ed. ellipses

    • fun bag February 24, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      It’s a fad. It’s a fad the same way Justin Bieber is a fad. Folks have always gotten tatts but it’s never been an epidemic like it is now. A few years from now it will be over, just like miley cyrus hair fads…

      • Moveback7spaces February 26, 2015 at 8:25 am

        Tell us all about it koolaid the all knowing fun bag LOL.! bag is right. bag of hot air

  • EraseTattoo February 24, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    We have seen many people with tattoo regret over the years. Unfortunatelya great deal of people who come into our studios got their tattoo at a young age, and as time went on they realized that the ink they had on their body, didn’t fit their life after their teens and twenties came to an end. While there are many who regret their ink, most of them are lacking in sentiment or stories behind their tattoos. The ones that people keep are those that have meaning to them, and often are gotten at a later age. Regardless, we don’t see how making them illegal will stop youth, who often get their ink at parties already, and this law would only make that trend more popular, and create more hazards for youth. Here’s a few common reasons for tattoo removal.

  • voice of reason February 24, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I hope this bill fails. If a kid wants to get inked and has the consent of his parents, the state should have no say. Judging people based on tattoos is among the stupider things I have heard today.

  • ladybugavenger February 24, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Come on now, you can’t stop kids from smoking, drinking, or getting tattoos by making another law….pleeeeze, geeeeeze, enough laws already.

  • GROANATTACK February 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I took a cab to a tattoo parlor once I should of taken the bus. it was cheaper

  • ladybugavenger February 24, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Its too much! Too many laws! Before you know it, the government will take all children away from parents and raise them.

  • fun bag February 24, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I honestly thought it was already illegal for children to be tattooed. We don’t let them buy alcohol, gamble, buy guns, vote, consent to sex. Getting all inked is in the same sort of category. Basically idiotic to let an underage get a tatt. Children’s brains aren’t developed enough to make sound judgments

  • My Evil Twin February 24, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    “The original proposal, House Bill 143 – Prohibition on Tattooing of Minors, sponsored by Rep. LaVar Christensen,”. . . . .
    Seems to me like this fella is quick to think up BS laws to try to pass. All this is, is a bid for attention and to keep his name in front of the voters. It is high time he was voted OUT of office.
    It isn’t the business of the state to dictate everything about a parent raising their child. If a kid wants a tat, and the parents are OK with it, it ISN’T ANYBODY ELSE’S BUSINESS!
    There is a huge difference in “jail house tattoos” and tattoos performed by an experienced licensed artist. OBTW, it might not be a real good idea to walk up to one of these hard vatos with their jail house tats and tell them what you think about them. 🙂

  • CaliGirl February 24, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    There is a young man I’ve seen here n St. George has a lovely tattoo on his neck that says “F__k Ho’s.” I’d love to be a fly on the wall the moment he comes to the realization that he has eliminated any hope of getting a job!

    • anybody home February 25, 2015 at 9:42 am

      I’ll wager he doesn’t care.

  • Free Parking February 24, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    It’s illegal for minors to smoke and consume alcohol how’s that working out for you.? LOL.!

  • Bender February 25, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Bender approves of tattoos. Idiots with poor decision making skills self identifying – what’s not to like about that? It’s surely unconstitutionally to require fools to wear a “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt with arrow pointing up at face, but tattoo enthusiasts effectively do the same thing.

  • sagemoon February 26, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Do we really need more laws restricting parents from parenting? I would rather approve of my kid’s tattoo and make sure it was done professionally in a sterile environment than have them get a guitar string tattoo in some loser’s garage. I have religious tattoos on my body in places that can’t be seen while I’m at work. I think parents should be able to supervise the placement of the tattoo. The guy in the garage is going to put it on their hand or some other awful place that will interfere with employment.

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